| Animals |

The Canine Film Festival Invites You to Watch a Film With Your Dog

He's in the mood for a rom-com.EXPAND
He's in the mood for a rom-com.
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You've undoubtedly heard of the Cannes Film Festival, the annual film-preview extravaganza held in Cannes, France. But have you heard of the Canine Film Festival? No? Well, it's pretty much the same but with one small difference. You can probably guess what it is.

The Canine Film Festival is an event held in Miami that aims to bring together pet lovers, their pups, and local business owners to raise funds for animal rescues and shelters in South Florida. As the name of the fest suggests, canines and films are involved. What might not be clear by the name, however, is that at the Canine Film Festival, dogs are invited. That's right, you can bring your pup. To watch movies. Not necessarily about dogs. Just normal movies. With your dog. In a seat.

Hey, the festival is named for them, after all.

Owners are encouraged to bring their dogs to laugh, cry, and enjoy feature films July 15 and 16 at Cinépolis Coconut Grove and Hotel Indigo in Miami Lakes in the name of spreading awareness for a multitude of animal-related causes. The South Florida Fund for Retired K9 Law Enforcement Officers, the Miami Veterinary Foundation, Paw Patrol Rescue and Sanctuary, and the Humane Society of Greater Miami are just a handful of organizations that will benefit from the Canine Film Fest.

According to the event's organizers, Laly Albalate, the chef/owner of Doggie Bag Café; Lory Nelson Brunner, outreach manager of Knowles Animal Clinics; and Karen Landrum, a retired teacher and owner of An Ideal Solution, the festival began with a small group of dog lovers. It has turned into something special that has raised quite a bit of money to help animals.

"[The founders] partnered up on this amazing idea to have animal lovers film and share their relationships with their fur babies through the film media while raising funds for animals in need," Nelson says.

Lory Nelson Brunner (left), Karen Landrum, and Laly Albalate
Lory Nelson Brunner (left), Karen Landrum, and Laly Albalate
Courtesy of Canine Film Festival

"It started out as a fun idea and turned into something much more important to our community, as we are able to raise awareness and funds to support foundations that help the less fortunate animals," Nelson says. "Through nurturing and promoting our vision at animal events and through the media, we have seen our vision grow and gain support in the community. More importantly, we raise awareness and funds to support foundations that help the less fortunate animals in our community. We are looking forward to growing this event bigger and better each year and eventually branching out into other cities."

This year, 103 films were submitted to Canine, and the judges narrowed them down to the top 25 in five categories. The judges this year are Melinda Harper of WPLG's SoFlo Taste, WPLG director Glen Eklund, and Xiomara González-Govea of Univision's Animales 360. In addition to the movies, a HollyWoof afterparty and a red carpet complete with "pawpurrazzi" are planned to bookend the first night's events. Yup, they've really gone all out to stay on brand with this one.

Attendees and their dogs can judge the movies themselves at the July 15 event A Day at the Movies With Your Dog for as little as $25. VIP packages and group deals that include everything from dog treats, beer, and "pupcorn" are also available for additional fees. The beer is for you, obviously, not your dog. That's illegal.

On the second day of the event, July 16, the Sniff and Greet With Celebrity Guests will take place at Hotel Indigo in Miami Lakes. There'll be "doga" (dog yoga, of course), a fashion show, and a poolside brunch buffet.

But do dogs and movies really mix? According to Nelson, canines aren't much different from humans.

"Some dogs enjoy the films and actually bark appropriately at them, some fall asleep like Grandpa, and some just enjoy the pupcorn."

Canine Film Festival 2017
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 15, at Cinépolis Coconut Grove, 3015 Grand Ave., Miami; 305-446-6843; cinepolisusa.com. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, July 16, at Hotel Indigo, 7601 Miami Lakes Dr., Miami Lakes; 305-556-0100. For more information, visit caninefilmfestival.com.

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